Tips for Cooking With Wine

Wine’s great, isn’t it? You can drink it, hand it over as a housewarming present or as an apology. If the apology doesn’t work you can find new chums with it and you can even use it to make your food better. Seriously, what’s not to love about the stuff? Red, white, in-between; dry, sweet, in-between… Wine, eh?

If you’re new to cooking with wine, you’ll no doubt appreciate these tips to help you navigate the maze.

It’s a good marinade

Wine is slightly acidic, so it helps to soften and tenderize the outside of the meat, allowing all the other marinade ingredients to sneak in behind it. As it’s a liquid, it also helps to keep the meat moist as it cooks.

Wine’s as good as water

Just don’t tell your doctor we said that. Realistically, though, if you see your sauce or your stew getting dry, splash in some wine to thin it out – it’ll add moisture and flavor to your dishes. If you’re trying to lower your cholesterol, wine can help if you replace some of the butter or oil called for in a recipe.

You can even bake with it

Some cakes can stand a drop or two! Dessert wines or sherries are better, as you can imagine, but there are some great recipes for dark chocolate cakes that involve a dash of deep red.

Match the flavors carefully

Wines have food-like flavors, as you probably know, so read the labels and match the tasters’ notes to the food you’re cooking.

White can have hints of vanilla, apple, pear, melon or pineapple, to give a few examples, while red can have undertones of coffee, chocolate, berries or plums.

Follow the recipe

You need to look at how the food is prepared – if you’re doing a spicy lamb dish, then you’ll need a chunky, full-bodied red. A creamy sauce with white fish needs a dry white.

Experiment and have fun

It might be a disaster, then again it might be the Next Big Thing. Try new things out and see what happens, but don’t forget to make notes and let us know how it turned out!